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: Etsy sellers plan boycott, call company’s new fee hike ‘pandemic profiteering’

More than 8,000 people have signed a petition calling on Etsy to call off plans to raise fees for sellers on its platform — and some Etsy makers are threatening to go on strike.

The fee increase, which is set to begin April 11, 2022, will raise the e-commerce site’s transaction fees from 5% per order to 6.5% per order, according to the company’s annual report.

The petition posted to Coworker.org by Etsy
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seller Kristi Cassidy is addressed to company CEO Josh Silverman, and refers to the raised fee as “pandemic profiteering.”

“They plan to increase our transaction fees by 30%,” the petition says. “We’re going on strike on April 11 to call on Etsy to hold itself accountable to sellers and buyers. Sellers will put their shops on vacation mode in protest. Buyers can show support by agreeing to boycott Etsy from April 11-18.”

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The petition also lists other desired changes from Etsy sellers, such as cracking down on resellers — those selling mass produced goods, instead of items they make themselves, which some argue goes against the site’s self-described identity as an online shop for “handmade, vintage, custom, and unique gifts.”

Etsy said that the raised fees will help them weed out these resellers, however.

“We’re committed to supporting our community of 5.3 million sellers around the world by helping them grow their businesses. Sellers have consistently told us they want us to expand our efforts around marketing, customer support, and removing listings that don’t meet our policies,” an Etsy spokesperson told MarketWatch. “Our revised fee structure will enable us to increase our investments in each of these key areas so that we can better serve our community and keep Etsy a beloved, trusted, and thriving marketplace.”

Etsy last increased its seller fees in 2018 from 3.5% to 5%, resulting in similar negative feelings from some makers on the platform. For example, the raised fee forced Etsy seller Christian Adair to move items he was selling from Etsy to his personal online shop following the fee hike, he told MarketWatch in 2018.

In February, Etsy reported fourth-quarter gross merchandise sales of $4.2 billion, a 16% increase year over year. Etsy’s stock has spiked since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with shares up 246.6% over the last two years.

The “Cancel the fee increase” petition says that, “even though it’s the hard work of Etsy’s sellers who’ve made it the massively successful company it is today, we have fewer rights and less of a voice in our workplaces than ever.”

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